New education resource – learning from the Rena grounding

26 January 2017

School students this year can learn from New Zealand’s most significant maritime pollution emergency, the grounding of MV Rena.

“What now for the Rena?” is an article in “Getting the Message”, one of the issues in the Ministry of Education’s Connected 2016 series. Connected promotes the exploration and learning of ideas in science, mathematics, and technology for students in years 4 to 8.

Maritime NZ Director, Keith Manch, said the agency was very pleased to work with the Ministry to help produce the article.

“The Rena grounding was a major maritime event,” Mr Manch said. “Most of the 360 tonnes of oil, plus other pollution, was cleared within months, but the environmental, social, economic, and cultural impacts continued for years and affected Tauranga and its iwi.”

“What now for the Rena?” focuses on these long-term impacts of the grounding and looks at what factors were considered when deciding on the wreck’s future. It links to the article “After the Spill” in Connected 2013.

“As a country, because of the Rena and other emergencies like the Christchurch earthquakes, we have changed how we think about emergencies – how we prepare, respond, and recover,” Mr Manch said.

“We do as much as possible to address the effects of the incident and get things back to normal as soon as possible but we have to understand that recovery can be very challenging and can take many years.

“Students can learn from this important maritime event in our country’s history.”

Teachers have responded enthusiastically to the article. Their comments include:

“I found this article very interesting. When you see what was on board and escaped you get to think beyond the oil to other contaminants.”

“The way this and the previous Rena article have been written, and the depth of ideas that are explored in both, provide great modelling on critical thinking for the students.”

The article is available in print and digital versions. Schools can order copies of the printed issues of Connected 2016:

Connected 2016[]

The digital version, with student and teacher support material, is available to download from the Connected page:


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